Author: Shernide Delva
The answer has arrived. After decades of debates and controversy over the best way to quit smoking, scientists have finally confirmed the absolute best way to stop smoking. This method was found to be more successful than any other method out there; better than pills or e-cigarettes. What could it possibly be?
QUITTING COLD TURKEY!
Turns out, quitting cigarettes cold turkey is the most powerful method of dropping the habit. Now, before you get angry at me for luring you into this obvious solution, hang on a second! You have to admit; it is surprising that this method of quitting is the most effective. After all, each and every year, different cigarette alternatives hit the market. Everything from vaping to nicotine patches to gums is released to aid in quitting smoking. Evidently, these alternatives can be more of a distraction than a real solution to quitting in the long run.
This topic has raised controversy for years. On one side, people believe it is better to taper off smoking cigarettes. Others stand by quitting cold turkey. In some ways, it makes perfect sense why people want to taper off. When it comes to other addictions like substance dependencies, typically medical professionals wean people off those drugs. However, when it comes to cigarettes, immediately throwing those packs of cigarettes in the trash appears to be the best solution.
The study was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, and what they found was people who quit cold turkey were much less likely to start smoking again compared to individuals who didn’t. Quitting smoking cold turkey disproves previous theories on tapering:
“If you’re training for a marathon, you wouldn’t expect to turn up and just be able to run it. And I think people see that for smoking as well. They think, ‘Well, if I gradually reduce it’s almost practice,'” said the study’s author, Nicola Lindson-Hawley from the University of Oxford.
The research follows 700 smokers in England who were planning to quit smoking. At the time, all the participants were smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Four weeks later, the researchers checked in. They found that smokers who quit cold turkey were more successful with a 49% quit rate compared to 39% in the gradual group. At six months, things start to get interesting. Only 15% of people who quit smoking were able to maintain it. On the other hand, 22% of the cold turkey groups were able to stay cigarette-free.
If you cannot see yourself quitting cold turkey anytime soon, good news: future research plans to understand how alternatives could be more effective in helping people stop.
Lindson-Hawley added, “If there are individuals who feel they can’t quit abruptly, and they want to stop gradually—otherwise they won’t try to quit at all—we still need to support them to do that.”
Furthermore, while the cold turkey group had a higher success rate, those who quit gradually preferred that method over quitting cold turkey. The important thing is for people to commit to dropping the habit for good. The more dedicated you are to quitting, the more likely you are to stop smoking cigarettes.
“I think that’s the piece that’s so convincing, which is that regardless of your stated preference, if you’re ready to quit, quitting abruptly is more effective,” said Dr. Gabriela Ferreira, of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey. “That’s a compelling number, and I think that translates to the patient. It gives them the encouragement, I think, to go for it.”
Those in the medical field believe studies like these are an excellent way to start a conversation and give doctors tools to help patients eager to quit more efficiently. Regardless of what you believe in, taking a step to quit is a good way of improving your health overall.
Quitting smoking can be one of the healthiest changes you make for yourself. While quitting smoking can be challenging, it is not impossible. Most of all, it is worth it. If you are well into your recovery and ready to quit, try doing it cold turkey first before looking into alternatives. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
By Cheryl Steinberg
I know a lot of people who are into the vaping scene and therefore, I know a lot of people aren’t going to be happy to hear that e-cigarettes and vapes are not without health risk.
Touted as a ‘healthy alternative’ to traditional combustible cigarettes, electronic vaporizers caught on like wildfire. But, it’s too soon to say just how much better – if at all – vapes are when compared to their old-school smokable version.
A new risk assessment report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health says that there are health risks associated with vapes, and not just for those who partake in vaping; bystanders – much like those who inhale secondhand cigarette smoke – may be at risk from secondhand vape smoke.
Now, just to be clear, what we’re talking about in this article are the vapes and e-cigs that contain nicotine, like cigarettes. The report has only considered e-cigarettes with nicotine since there has been very little research about nicotine-free e-cigs. But the report was clear in its conclusions that e-cigarettes are not without health risks for people who vape or for bystanders.
Vapers: You Might Be Fooling Yourselves
Because vapes and e-cigarettes deliver the same amount of nicotine to users as cigarettes do to smokers, it’s safe to say that the same harmful effects from nicotine can be expected in people who vape.
Furthermore, the vapor from e-cigs and vaporizers contains so much nicotine that people who are nearby can also inhale the same amount as with secondhand tobacco smoke. This can be a trigger for addiction to nicotine.
As far as we know, however, e-cigs are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, with regards to cancer but the health risks of long-term use of vapes and e-cigs use are unknown.
“In Norway, it is mainly smokers and former smokers who use e-cigarettes. The question is if this will still be the case if e-cigarettes become more accessible. It is important to avoid e-cigarettes becoming a trend among adolescents and young adults, or to introduce non-smokers to nicotine addiction and tobacco use,” says Dr. Camilla Stoltenberg, Director-General at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).
Caveats of the Research
- Admittedly, e-cigs and vapes simply have not been around long enough in order for researchers to really get a good idea on the potential risks and the extent to which these risks can go.
- The NIPH’s risk assessment is mainly based on evaluation of the individual components of e-cigarettes. There is a wide range of e-cigarette types, with varying content of nicotine and other ingredients.
- Differing types and usage patterns will influence potential health damage. If e-cigarettes are allowed to be sold in Norway, their use and possible adverse effects should be monitored by research.
Banning Vaping in Public
In Portland, Maine’s largest city, they’re not taking this sort of news lightly. Currently, the city is considering imposing a ban on the use of e-cigarettes and vapes in public spaces.
The Portland City Council will hold a meeting next week in order to discuss and make its consideration of whether to place e-cigarettes and other devices that allow the user to inhale vapors on its list of tobacco products that are banned in public areas.
Last month, the city’s Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee unanimously supported the ban.
There have been some recent stories discussing the concern of the unknown risks of vape smoke and, perhaps as a safeguard to those who choose not to vape – just like with traditional smokers and non-smokers – towns and cities have begun to consider bans on public vaping.
In fact, dozens of places have established restrictions on e-cigarettes and vaping in public and The World Health Organization issued a report calling for restrictions on the indoor use of e-cigs and vapes.
Electronic cigarettes and vapes can be a pathway to breaking the chains of your nicotine addiction. However, there’s still some debate whether they serve more as a tool for those who are already addicted to cigarettes or as products that could undermine efforts to discourage tobacco use. If you abuse other substances, we can help you overcome the cycle of addiction and get on the road to recovery. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
By Cheryl Steinberg
Electronic cigarettes and vapes are a booming business and a fast-growing trend, having become a $2 billion per year industry since 2007. The main selling point of electronic smoking devices is that they are a safer alternative to traditional smoking. Now, that may be true but, only to the extent that getting hit in the head with a baseball bat is safer than being thrown off of a building; it doesn’t mean that e-cigs are actually safe.
There has already been some debate and preliminary research as to just how “safe” the ingredients, namely glycerin oil and formaldehyde, are given that the user inhales these through a device that heats the oil to an extreme temperature. In fact, more and more the use of vapes and e-cigs inside buildings and public spaces are being banned – an indication that there is concern of harms from second-hand smoke, just like with traditional cigarettes.
More Bad News for People Who Vape
Now, a new paper published in PLOS ONE by lead author Thomas Sussan from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that mice that were exposed to e-cig vapor had weaker immune systems than those mice that were not exposed to it.
“Our findings suggest that e-cigarettes are not neutral in terms of the effects on the lungs,” senior author Shyam Biswal said in a press release. “We have observed that they increase the susceptibility to respiratory infections in the mouse models. This warrants further study in susceptible individuals, such as COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] patients who have switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes or to new users of e-cigarettes who may have never used cigarettes.”
The study looked at two groups of mice: one group was exposed to vapor from electronic cigarettes for two weeks, and the other breathed only fresh air. Next, each group – the vape-exposed one and the fresh air one – was separated into subgroups. The first group was exposed to Influenza A, the next was exposed to the pneumonia-causing bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, and the third group was not given any illness-causing microbes.
The mice that had been exposed to the vapor from the e-cigs had infections that were much more severe than the mice from the fresh air-breathing group, indicating a weakened immune response. For some of the mice, these infections were fatal. Further investigation into the mice revealed physiological changes that had taken place in them.
“E-cigarette vapor alone produced mild effects on the lungs, including inflammation and protein damage,” Sussan explained. “However, when this exposure was followed by a bacterial or viral infection, the harmful effects of e-cigarette exposure became even more pronounced. The e-cigarette exposure inhibited the ability of mice to clear the bacteria from their lungs, and the viral infection led to increased weight loss and death indicative of an impaired immune response.”
Sussan added, “We were surprised by how high that number was, considering that e-cigarettes do not produce combustion products. Granted, it’s 100 times lower than cigarette smoke, but it’s still a high number of free radicals that can potentially damage cells.”
Free radicals in the body can alter DNA and have cancer-causing effects. With ordinary cigarettes, the smoker inhales toxins (400 to be exact, with 60 of those being known carcinogens), whereas electronic cigarettes produce a nicotine aerosol vapor that is inhaled by users. As for the lack of burning that takes place with traditional cigarettes, which can prevent some chemicals from being released, there are still a number of free radicals being introduced into the body via e-cigs and vapes.
Obviously, more study is needed on this subject in order to fully understand the effect of e-cigarettes on the user’s health as well as those who are exposed to second-hand vapor, and how it could contribute to disease. E-cigs and vapes hit the market about seven years ago, quickly becoming popular people wanting to quit smoking as well as with former smokers of traditional cigarettes. In 2013, it was reported that more teenagers had tried e-cigarettes than had tried traditional cigarettes, making it incredibly important to know what the real risks are, especially to young users.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, help is just a phone call away. We have Addiction Specialists available 24/7 to answer your questions, share resources, and get you pointed in the right direction. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 today.
Vaping has become quite the popular trend and many believe it is a safe and healthy alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. As more and more comes to light about e-cigs and how they work, however, there are some important things to consider.
Well, there’s more possible bad news for vapers.
Many people point to all the harmful chemical additives in cigarettes (nearly 600 additives, 69 of which are known to cause cancer) and claim that e-cigs and vapes don’t have them, making them safer. However, when it comes to electronic cigarettes, a battery-powered device heats a liquid solution (e-liquid) of nicotine and various flavors, creating an aerosol. This is inhaled to simulate the physical sensation of smoking hence the term “vaping.”
We’ve written about potential dangers associated with vaping, specifically regarding the glycerin and propylene glycol that are used as solvents in the e-liquid and how they are converted to carbonyls, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas used in embalming fluid, building materials and some medicines and cosmetics. It can also be produced as a byproduct of cooking and smoking. Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing agent in humans (and rats) and is found in cigarette smoke. But, it’s also found in the vaporized liquid of the ever-more popular electronic cigarette.
According to an analysis published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the exposure to formaldehyde from e-cigarettes, when based on similar chronic use as regular tobacco cigarettes, could be five to 15 times higher than from smoking cigarettes. Yikes!
The problem with arriving at any definitive answer as to just how detrimental vapes are to the health of the user, is that any such evidence won’t show up until years from now.
“It’s way too early now from an epidemiological point of view to say how bad they are,” said co-author James F. Pankow, professor of chemistry and engineering at Portland State University in Oregon. “But the bottom line is, there are toxins and some are more than in regular cigarettes. And if you are vaping, you probably shouldn’t be using it at a high-voltage setting.”
Pankow adds, “A lot of people make the assumption that e-cigarettes are safe and they are perfectly fine after using for a year. The hazards of e-cigarettes, if there are any, will be seen 10 to 15 years from now when they start to appear in chronic users.”
Pankow and his colleagues analyzed the aerosol e-liquid in what’s known as “tank system” e-cigarettes in order to look for formaldehyde-releasing agents in “hidden” form at various voltages.
The findings should concern those who regularly use these vapes. Researchers found that vaping 3 milligrams of e-cigarette liquid at a high voltage can generate 14 milligrams of “hidden” formaldehyde. Furthermore, the researchers estimated a traditional cigarette smoker gets 0.15 milligrams of formaldehyde per cigarette, or 3 milligrams in a 20-pack.
And this “may be conservative,” says Pankow.
“We are not saying e-cigarettes are more hazardous than cigarettes,” he said. “We are only looking at one chemical. … The jury is really out on how safe these drugs are.”
“The difference in e-cigarettes is the material that is heated and turns into hot gas as it cools is not tobacco, but two main chemicals,” he said. “When it gets really hot, unwanted reactions occur.”
Therefore, formaldehyde-containing chemical compounds can be released during the “vaping” process as the liquid is heated. Pankow said some e-cigarettes can burn hotter than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
What’s troubling is there already exists some evidence that shows just how bad formaldehyde is: when gaseous formaldehyde, found in funeral homes and other occupational settings, is inhaled, it breaks down in the mouth, nose, throat, and airways. Exposure has been linked to throat and nasal cancers and leukemias. This is supported by findings used by the American Cancer Society, which says that exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and has also been linked to some cancers in humans.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, help is available. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist, who understands your situation. We are available day and night to answer your questions and to help you figure out what steps to take next. Recovery is possible.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Smoking cigarettes is one of the worse addictions to try and give up. Cigarettes are not only extremely unhealthy, but the longer we smoke the cigarettes only become increasingly addictive. There have been so many strategies to quit developed in the past, such as the nicotine patch or nicotine gum. Many of these strategies work for some people, but yet thousands upon thousands of people all around the world still find it impossible to kick the habit. Studies show as many as 60% of people who try to give up start smoking again in the first week.
Well now some hope that there will be a more personal answer to questions about addiction, mainly focusing on the genetics of addicts to see if the secret lies deep in our DNA, and a new research study is suggesting that a blood test, measuring the speed at which an individual breaks down addictive nicotine, could hold the key to help cigarette smokers find what the best strategy for them specifically to quit smoking could be.
Studying Smoke Signals in the Blood
This newest study concerning the body, specifically the blood of those addicted to nicotine, was conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania. The research team initially enlisted an estimated 1,240 people on different smoking cessation programs to participate in the survey.
Volunteers were given one of a variety supplements supposed to be used to aid their abstinence such as:
- Nicotine patches
- Varenicline- a non-nicotine based drug that is available on prescription
- A placebo (dummy drug containing no actual medication)
The volunteers were then given blood tests to see whether nicotine broke down at a normal or slower rate, during which time doctor’s weighed in on the potential side-effects of the drug (including risk of depression and suicide) against the harms to their health if they were to continue smoking.
The Value of Varenicline
The researches eventually published their findings in a Lancet medical journal, which had come to the conclusion that:
- Volunteers who broke down nicotine at a normal rate had a better chance of quitting with the drug Varenicline than they did with nicotine replacement patches.
- Volunteers who broke down nicotine at a slower rate benefited equally from all three methods, on the other hand—but they experienced more side effects with varenicline.
Professor Caryn Lerman, who led the research team, stated that in regards to the findings of the survey it is believed that for some smokers who have a normal metabolism of nicotine their chances of successfully quitting might be low when trying to use the nicotine patches, but suspects that those chances could possibly double if the same individual were to take the pill varenicline.
Meanwhile Lerman suspected that for a third of the population with a slower rate of nicotine breakdown, cheaper patches might be their best option.
Scientists have so far only used these blood tests for research but say they could easily be developed for wider use. At the University of Bristol a man named Professor Neil Davis says that in order to take this kind of experiment to its maximum use,
“The cost-effectiveness of these tests would need to be taken into account.”
Experts and scientists have said that if these findings can be replicated they could lead to some real relevant changes in practice, but as of now there are still too many questions that need to be answered before any real effective use can be put to this strategy. Meanwhile, Professor Robert West from the University College London, who was not involved in this paper, said that it has already been determined that if people try to quit unaided, their chance of success for a year is about 4%. That puts a bit of gloom on those who have ideas about white knuckling it.
At the end of the day, that is the story with any addiction really. White knuckling recovery and abstinence from a substance is a dangerous and stressful way of life, and it is not very effective when considering the harsh and frustrating alternatives available. There is no shame in getting help, especially during a discomforting detox, as long as you have a smart plan of action. Sadly as with nicotine, many people will next attempt recovery from these things or drugs and alcohol, because they fear the unknown discomfort, even though it can save their life.
Scientists and experts continue to search for the keys to fighting addiction that may be hidden within our biological code, and more and more are beginning to believe that there is an answer underlining all of it that can change the way we treat addiction. There is always help, no matter what kind of substance it is that is hurting your life, and Palm Partners is here to do all we can. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135